Architect Cook: Pacific Park buildings "not a new neighborhood, but an extension to the existent neighborhood"
Q: You’ve been working on 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt, part of the greater Atlantic Yards redevelopment. It’s a project with a lot of history, and will soon be a whole new neighborhood in Brooklyn. What’s that project been like?
Rick: We didn’t have an intention of being involved with the project formerly known as Atlantic Yards [now Pacific Park], but we liked the key people we worked with at Forest City Ratner [the developer] on a proposal for Seward Park. I saw how important the sites of 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt would be to the project… they could speak a language that could transition into, and be a part of, the adjoining neighborhood. Not something separate, not a new neighborhood, but an extension to the existent neighborhood.(Emphases added)
Q: What inspired the design of the buildings?
Rick: There’s no question 535 Carlton was inspired primarily by the shadow and earthy textures of Carlton Place. We wanted to be a good neighbor to that street. 550 Vanderbilt, on the other side and off a wider boulevard, was inspired by that location. The lighter pallet was inspired by the nearby cathedral of St. Joe’s. Both these buildings were site-specific to the context that existed, but make a transition into the context that would exist when Pacific Street becomes Pacific Park.Note that he considers "Pacific Park" to be the open space--actually not a park--rather than the project at large.
Whether the buildings will be good neighbors remains to be seen. What is clear is that it will take a long while--until 2025, most likely, and possibly longer--for the "park" to be finished.